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Flo Martin

BSc in Pharmacology with Professional Placement Year, graduated July 2019, First Class Honours Degree.

Master's Student, University of Bristol

My undergraduate degree at Newcastle University started in 2015 as Biomedical Sciences, learning about a wide range of topics within this umbrella. I had the opportunity to convert to Pharmacology in April of my first year for the rest of my degree, having had the time to discover my key interests. This flexibility allowed me to gain experience of degree-level topics across biomedical sciences and make a more informed decision at the end of the first year to solely pursue pharmacology. The lectures I received across my three taught years were incredibly stimulating and varied; the level of expertise in everything from chemotherapies to the drug development pipeline was extremely high. We were nurtured in the lab also, with a wide variety of wet lab practicals that allowed us to hone a variety of different skills and use state of the art equipment.


In my second year, I secured a position in one of the research laboratories in the department; this opportunity is available to any biomedical sciences student and was a great way for me to develop additional skills, learn about the University’s research output and embellish my applications to industrial placement years. The option to take a year out to work in industry was something I decided to do in my second year and was extremely valuable for me; it has shaped my career path dramatically. The department provided me with lots of support during both the application process and throughout the placement. I spent a year at a spinout company based in Newcastle testing biopharmaceuticals and cosmetics on a 3D skin explant model. It gave me more of an insight into lab work and life in industry. Another opportunity available at the University is a summer placement, for which funding is available through research scholarships. I worked with the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS), based in Newcastle on medicine use in pregnancy, using real UK data and travelled internationally with my research as well as publishing the work in a peer-reviewed journal. Again, the support from staff within the department provided me with the means to pursue these opportunities and ultimately, complete my overall degree.

Currently, I am nearing the end of a master’s in Epidemiology at the University of Bristol and starting a Wellcome Trust funded PhD in Molecular, Genetic and Lifecourse Epidemiology in Bristol in October, specifically using GP data to study the effects of antidepressant use in pregnancy. I feel that Newcastle gave me not only the skills necessary to succeed in further study but the confidence in my abilities to aim high in other areas outside pure pharmacology. I am so grateful to this amazing University, department and its staff for the best four years of my life!